Friday, October 1, 2010

Kayseri and its Martyr

Kayseri back home is the name of a South Indian dessert that can be so artificially coloured and sweetened but there was nothing fake about the Kayseri we experienced. We arrived in Kayseri at about 6.30pm to what has been a trademark of Turkish hospitality, by embracing us with their hearts. A quick but intense welcome before being whisked off to our accommodation for the night; a hotel in the middle of nowhere or so it seemed in the cover of darkness.

But the early morning light lifted the shroud of mystery and gently revealed a hotel nestled among mountains. We were in a simple ski resort. One such mountain stood proud and majestic and still bore traces of snow while a ski lift ran idly across.

A hurried breakfast and we were off to the grave of Furkan Dogan, the young son Kayseri, a fallen hero of the Mavi Marmara at the tender age of 19.

These visits to the grave are emotionally draining yet they are just as charging. As I sat there listening to the tributes and made my own silent dua, I thought about how at 19 Furkan attained the ultimate beautiful death, insha Allah, where our death remains one big divine secret.

May Allah grant us all hasanah in life and death.

Then followed a visit to a cultural centre named after this martyr where his old and frail grandfather showed up. As I was pushed to sit upfront and in the middle & as the speeches flowed, I prayed that I wouldn't be asked to say anything. I doubt I would have been able to hold back my emotions, being the mother of four myself. Making our way back to the car we found someone had stuck a piece of paper with pictures of Furkan, a flying dove and "Free Free Palestine". Kayseri's fallen son will never be forgotten.

At the fuel stop before hitting the highway, a generous soul picked up the tab for all the vehicles. May Allah reward him in abundance.

And now we're almost at Adana, our last Turkish stop before crossing into Syria. Inching closer to Gaza is a thrilling thought but it's tinged with sadness at Turkey coming to an end.

(Sent from Azra via SMS)

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